According to scientists, these metallic balls can be as old as 10 million years! The team on the research vessel of SONNE was on the lookout for deep-sea animals when they came across the strange discovery. These balls were manganese nodules and were of different sizes. From a golf ball to a bowling ball, the metal balls were available in all sizes.
“I was surprised, because this is generally not the place you think of for manganese nodules,” Geologist Colin Devey with the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany, who led the ocean expedition, told Live Science. Devey also further stated that these nodules were found in the Pacific Ocean, not the Atlantic Ocean. Even stranger was the fact that these nodules were rounder in shape as compared to the earlier discovered nodules, which were more flatter. “These were very, very circular, which is strange,” Devey told Live Science. “They usually look like cow flops.”
“This discovery shows us how little we know of the seabed of the abyssal ocean, and how many exciting discoveries are still waiting for us,” Dr. Angelika Brandt with the Center for Natural History at the University of Hamburg said in a statement. “At this station, very few organisms were found in the nets which captured the manganese nodules. It is quite possible that living creatures find the immediate vicinity of the nodules quite inhospitable.”
The nodules are of particular interest to these scientists for a reason. Manganese nodules function as a record for previous environmental and climatic conditions brilliantly. These balls grow like a pearl shell around a nucleus and hence are able to record much information about the prevalent environmental conditions.
The discovery seems to be a surprising one, given the nature, size and function of the metal balls. We sure hope the research based on this discovery proves beneficial for all!